These communitarian values help us to make the decisions necessary to prevent the spread of the pandemic. They help us to recognize when to subvert our individual desire to do whatever we want into efforts to preserve the common good—a good, it turns out, that we participate in. They help us to orient ourselves to positions of self-sacrificial love that may bring painful consequences on ourselves in order to protect and preserve the lives of others. These are the very values that inform decisions that the state must now compel so many of us to do.
When we see empty streets in our major metropolitan centers, a sign of people avoiding each other, we actually see people coming together, making powerful declarations of solidarity. And in this solidarity is our salvation.
As people of faith, we are often faced with the choice between things we have the right to do and the things we ought to do. As people who are supposed to care for the least of these, for the most vulnerable, for those who are marginalized, oppressed, and afflicted, we must ask ourselves, honestly, whether the use of a term that can bring no benefit and only cause harm is the appropriate thing to do, especially when other, more helpful terms exist.